Last week was Superhero Week at Morningside of Madison Senior Living, and Lifestyle 360 director Melinda Haggermaker had a last-minute idea to make the concluding event extra special for her residents.
With the help of her sister-in-law Harmony Heard, they used word of mouth to quickly gather roughly 30 people to parade around the exterior of the building in Superhero costumes.
Residents who have been safely confined to their rooms for the better part of two months were invited to sit near their windows and admire the show.
Several attendees made their own posters as well, showing them off to those in the window while waving, giving thumbs-up, and blowing kisses (which were often sweetly reciprocated).
“The residents were absolutely thrilled,” Haggermaker says. “Someone actually went and grabbed their puppy to show to a resident in the window, which was the most wonderful surprise.”
A half dozen firemen from Madison Fire and Rescue showed up to walk around and join the fun as well, which was something that Haggermaker and Heard appreciated greatly.
Morningside of Madison
Haggermaker is employed full-time at Morningside of Madison and works hard to ensure that her residents are stimulated mentally and physically during the quarantine.
“They are so easy-going, but they’re also bored out of their minds!” Haggermaker jokes.
She explains that her residents really like routine and having an idea of what to expect, so having to alter their routines to meet the quarantine guidelines has been difficult for many.
“We used to frequently do a level of physical activity and stretching altogether in one room, but now we’re calling this time ‘hallway exercises'”, says Haggermaker. “Most of the residents have realized this is their new normal, and while they don’t love it, most of them have the new attitude of ‘We’ll try it.'”
Haggermaker says that “hallway exercises” consist of each resident sitting in a chair in the doorway of his or her room and doing exercises to move and strengthen the entire body.
“That’s really one of the only times they’re close to being out of their rooms.”
To keep morale up, Haggermaker says that she moves around the facility all day providing residents with puzzles, trivia, adult coloring pages, books, magazines, crafts, and more.
“They really don’t like doing things that are isolating and prefer to be together as a group,” which is why Haggermaker says she tries to spend as much time with them as she can.
Another way that Haggermaker has attempted to bring some fun to Morningside is through themed days, such as a Luau. They also like to treat the residents to special snacks, such as banana splits and coke floats.
“They’ll laugh and say ‘Wow! We haven’t had this in ages!'”
Many families still stop by the facility and spend time with their loved ones in creative ways through the closed windows.
“One of our resident’s granddaughters came up here with her two young children to have a picnic together with the window between them. They put a blanket on the grass by her window and the kids had Happy Meals. The granddaughter and resident talked with cell phones.”
Haggermaker says that while many residents are okay watching TV, others have frequent requests for certain movies and music in their rooms.
“Whatever they want, we try to get!”
Haggermaker took on the role of Lifestyle 360 Director in December 2019 and says that her favorite part of her job is simply just making her residents happy.
“I want this to feel like home to them. That’s what I try to do every day.”
She says that being able to play with them all day provides her ample time to listen to their stories and receive their wisdom.
“I try to encourage them to write down their stories. They have so much to share.”
As long as the restrictions are in place, Haggermaker says that she will work hard to make the residents feel connected to others in creatives ways.
If you are interested in donating items to Morningside of Madison Senior Living, Haggermaker says that they would greatly appreciate the following items:
- Stand-up TV trays
- Small activities such as puzzles, word searches, light crafts, etc. that can be brought to the residents’ rooms